Ben Gregory unveils his latest project, Bodied, an exploration of gender and formListen here
The EP is an intimate anthology of songs that delve into the complex relationship we have with our bodies. It signifies an evolution from Ben’s autobiographical debut album episode that came out earlier this year, steering away from personal themes and navigating the universally relatable concept of our physical selves. The songs emerged during a transformative phase in Ben’s life as he relocated to Manchester to study following a difficult period marked by a mental health crisis.
Alongside the EP, Ben has shared a video to accompany the closing single, ‘Pale Pregnant King’. Ben on the track: “There are so many sides to the self battling it out for their moment in the sun. ‘Pale Pregnant King’ is about confronting dysphoria and that self-abnegating urge; exploding the myth that says being sad is safer. I feel weird about my brain and my body but, honestly, nothing brings me peace like singing this song. I’d previously shied away from full transparency out of anxieties that in fact have no right to exist, so, yeah, the project ‘Bodied’ is (probably quite obviously) about Trans rights.”
Lyrically, Bodied explores the intricate interplay between self-representation and the unchosen forms we inhabit, juxtaposing ‘what you are’ against ‘what you can only be.’ The songs within the EP embrace the dysphoric, clouded and bizarre beauty that is inherent within the human body. A deeply intelligent collection of music, it oscillates between driving guitars, infectious melodies and delicate, folk-tinged arrangements with otherworldly vocals and clever lyricism. Involved in every level of the creative process, Ben also designed the artwork for the EP.
The opening track, ‘In A Certain Light We All Look The Same’ explores the struggle of self-perception, juxtaposing personal reflections with an Ursula K. Le Guin-inspired call for self-acceptance. Following this, ‘Memoriam’ delves into the disillusionment of predefined gender roles and societal expectations surrounding physical appearance, encouraging us to break free from these confining archetypes. The penultimate track ‘Heart’ paints a vivid picture of the daily grind and the pursuit of personal passions, reminding us of the importance of connecting with loved ones in a world of constant distractions. The closing track, ‘Pale Pregnant King’ confronts dysphoria and self-doubt, challenging the notion that sadness equates to safety and finding solace in the act of singing and self-expression.
Bodied marks Ben Gregory’s second solo project, following his majestic, multi-faceted and emotionally wrenching debut solo album episode, that received critical acclaim from a multitude of publications, with DIY calling the album ‘mind-boggling in its scope and scale’, while Loud & Quiet labelled the project a ‘beautiful account of illness and recovery’. Other press highlights included Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Notion, Clash, and The Line Of Best Fit.
Ben Gregory is playing a headline show at Courtyard Theatre, London on 23rd November. Get your tickets here.